TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - A Bay Area pastor and his daughter pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to fraud the United States government stemming from their tax preparation business according to a plea agreement filed in federal court this week.
55-year-old Luckner Stimphil and 31-year-old Elwolfine Dufort started running their tax preparation business under the name "Top Popular Tax" back in June 2011. Around the same time, he also served as pastor at First Calvary Family Life Ministry in Tampa.
The church's address is also listed as the business address. According to the indictment, he and his daughter assisted people with filing their taxes. In exchange, they charged a 10 percent fee from their client's tax returns.
According to their indictment, they were fraudulently claiming their clients qualified for certain tax credits and breaks they didn't qualify for, inflating their total return amount, which meant more money in their pocket.
"It's unfair that these people are coming in and filing fraudulent returns," defense attorney Anthony Rickman said. "And getting credits that they are not eligible for. Ultimately, it hurts our economy. It hurts the government. The government is saying in this particular case -- and in other cases -- that we are not going to let these tax preparation services to defraud us."
Stimphil and Dufort could face up to 5 years in prison.